Vitamin D deficiency has emerged as a public health problem worldwide due to its important role in health and disease. The present work is intended to examine prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among pregnant Saudi women and related risk factors. A cross-sectional study was carried out at King Fahad Medical City in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Serum 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 160 pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Socio-demographic, lifestyle and maternal characteristics were collected and vitamin D intake was assessed using a 24-h dietary recall. Weight and height were measured using standardized methods. Vitamin D deficiency (25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L) and insufficiency (25(OH)D = 50–74 nmol/L) were reported in 50% and 43.8% of the study sample, respectively. Median serum 25(OH)D concentration was 49.9 nmol/L. Adequate vitamin D intake (≥600 IU/day) was reported among only 8.1% of pregnant women. Age group, educational level, sun exposure frequency and daytime and daily practice of exercise were significantly associated with vitamin D status. Overall, vitamin D deficiency was common among pregnant Saudi women in Riyadh. Steps should be taken to address the current situation, including increased sunlight exposure, consumption of fatty fish, and vitamin D supplements.
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